One school of thought says make your choice provided you can get majority of board to agree, other says go by county party chair recommendation
Saturday’s McHenry County Blog “Message of the Day – Feet” article pointed out McHenry County Board Chairman-elect Mike Buehler’s (R, Crystal Lake) new term will be faced with appointing up to two county board members in the first two to three months.
Buehler formally takes office on December 7 at the County Board’s biennial Organizational Meeting, when he and all board members elected in November will take their oaths of office for their respective terms. Buehler will be sworn in for his 4-year term, while all county board members will be sworn in for 2-year terms.
Also on December 7, the 23 county board members will elect the board’s vice chairman for the biennium, and the Committee on Committees will be formed with 1 board member from each of the six districts, and chaired by the vice chairman.
The Committee on Committees will make recommendations for standing committee assignments among the 23 board members, including chairs and vice chairs for the six standing committees.
The Shaw Media article referenced in the “Message of the Day – Feet” article, published in both the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald on Friday discussed the vacancy of County Board District 4 due to the passing of Chuck Wheeler (R, McHenry) on November 12.
The Shaw Media article also assumed County Board District 2 Member Suzanne Ness (D, Crystal Lake) will resign her seat in order to devote her full time to her new role as the 66th district state representative. Ness is scheduled to be sworn-in to the Illinois General Assembly on January 13.
While Ness is expected to resign her county board seat, Illinois Law does not require her to do so. She could hold both positions as a county board member and a state representative, though she could not draw a salary from both jobs.
Therefore, the timing of Ness’ resignation does not have to be effective until she submits her resignation with the effective date, and could go beyond the January 13 date, possibly tied to when the Illinois General Assembly will convene for the Spring Session given COVID restrictions.
Given the Fall Veto Session of the General Assembly was cancelled over COVID concerns, a delayed Spring Session is quite possible. This could give Ness the possibility to delay her resignation until the immediate Wheeler vacancy is declared, candidates apply, are vetted and the appointment made.
Which brings up the question of the process Buehler could use to fill the Wheeler vacancy and the upcoming Ness vacancy. McHenry County Democratic Party Chair Kristina Zahorik was interviewed by Shaw Media, but Republican Chair Tyler Wilke could not be reached.
Zahorik made it clear, for the upcoming Ness vacancy where Buehler must appoint a Democrat, he should use her recommendation she makes through the McHenry County Democrats.
“I would hope that this would be the incoming chairman’s first really large public gesture and that, if he does want to govern in the spirit of true bipartisanship, he would take the recommendations of either party.”McHenry County Democratic Chair Kristina Zahorik, 11/27/20 to Shaw Media
Outgoing County Board Chairman Jack Franks was quoted in the article with a different perspective/input for Buehler.
“The two political parties can play an advisory role in the process, but not a decisive one.”Outgoing McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, 11/27/20 to Shaw Media
Chairman-elect Buehler told Shaw Media once hearing both schools of thought, particularly on the political party recommendation:
“I think (they) would carry a great deal of weight.
“I would probably consider their recommendations first and foremost…but I wouldn’t just default to that.”McHenry County Board Chairman-elect Mike Buehler, 11/27/20 to Shaw Media
County Board Member Carolyn Schofield (R, Crystal Lake) was also interviewed in the Shaw Media article, and she came away from her discussions with Chairman-elect Buehler very positively.
While this is Buehler’s first elective office when he’s sworn in on December 7, many will watch how he will govern amid the transition to the new County Board for the next biennium. Given his 25 years of business ownership, Buehler will recognize that Democrat Chair Zahorik has a valid point about the need to work cooperatively with both major parties, though what that means may not be what Zahorik thinks it means.
Buehler will find his way to use the best appointment process that best suits him, including board member input, the political party’s input and any other objective criteria and resources he’ll use to determine whom he’ll appoint to succeed Chuck Wheeler and Suzanne Ness, who will hopefully receive unanimous advice and consent from the County Board.
- Shaw Media article in Daily Herald